There is hope in beauty.
Archive for March, 2011
I’m trying to create a theme with several posts, presenting various writings and lectures by artists who have strong and clearly presented philosophies regarding art, and how those philosophies came to be. I’m especially interested in the tension between the thoughts and opinions of artists who consider themselves “Modernists” and those who consider themselves “Classicists”. I find Graydon Parrish’s lecture to be excellent and enlightening, covering many areas of art in its many forms and its long history.
The other day I came across an interesting item. For those who might not know, Pietro Annigoni was one of the most important and influential Realist painters of the Twentieth Century. I won’t say that I agree with everything he wrote in his manifesto. There are some strongly worded opinions and some outright nationalism expressed in it.
I can understand that he should feel so strongly about those he called “sophisticated ones”, considering the almost continuous derision and persecution of Realist artists by the establishments of “Modern Art” since the turn of the Nineteenth Century, and which continues even to this day.
Without further comments from me, here is his “Manifesto”, written in 1947.
Annigoni’s Manifesto of “Modern Painters of Reality”:
(Pittori moderni della realtà) Milan, Italy, November 1947
We, “The Modern Painters of Reality” are gathered in a brotherly group to show our works to the public.
The favor and understanding with which the public has accompanied and supported our efforts over the last few years, our certainty to be in the right and that the others are wrong, have convinced us of the advisability and necessity of this exhibition.
We stand united with our strength, our faith, our ideals and our absolute mutual esteem. As opposed to the Ecole de Paris, born in France, but representative of a universal tendency of decadence, our art born in Italy represents an event of hope and salvation for art and this exhibition is meant to be a first effective contribution to the fight that is about to blaze.
We are neither interested nor moved by the so-called “abstract” or “pure” painting, procreated by a decaying society, which is empty of any human contents and has retreated into itself, in the vain hope of finding a substance in itself.
We disavow all contemporary painting from post-impressionism till today, regarding it as the expression of an age of false progress and a reflection of the dangerous threat that looms over mankind. On the contrary we reaffirm those spiritual and moral values without which painting would become the most fruitless exercise.
We want painting to be moral in its most intimate essence, in its style itself, a painting that in one of the dimmest moments of human history should be filled with the same faith in man and his destiny that had made the greatness of art in times past.
We recreate the art of illusion of reality, the eternal and primeval seed of figurative arts.
We do not lend ourselves to any comeback, we simply keep on with our mission of true painting, which is the image of a universal feeling, which we want to be understood by many, not just by few “sophisticated ones”.
Long before gathering, each one of us had deeply felt the need to research in nature the leading thread that would allow us to find our true nature in the labyrinth of schools that have multiplied over the last half a century.
Each one of us has spontaneously addressed himself to reality, the first and eternal source of painting, confident to find his own expression in it.
In the face of a new academism or conventionalism, made up of the remnants of cubist formulas and of a standardized impressionistic sensuality, we have exhibited a way of painting that, mindless of fashions or aesthetic theories, is striving to express our feelings through the language that each one of us, according to one’s temperament, has found by looking directly at reality.